Recent news reports that a Henry Moore sculpture had been stolen from Glenkiln Park, near Dumfries didn’t come as a surprise to me. This is the third theft of Moore’s work in 10 years, but not for the resale value of the bronzes, for the scrap metal value! You would think that the thieves would be secretly selling to a dubious private collector for display in some grand home abroad. At least then the thieves would be making closer to the hundreds of thousands of pounds the sculptures are worth for the effort it must take to steal heavy sculptures from remote locations. It just doesn’t make sense to steal a valuable bronze sculpture and then sell it on for a tiny percentage of the value. Last year ‘Working model for a Sundial’ was stolen from Perry Green, possibly because it was the smallest, lightest sculpture at Moore’s former home, but also because it was the most easily accessible. Then the two men responsible took it to a local scrap yard and exchanged the sculpture, worth an estimated £500,000 for £46! By the time they’d covered the cost of their petrol to drive out to Perry Green and back they would have netted less than £20 each for a crime that sent them to prison for a year. So it seems crime really doesn’t pay!
I love the work of Henry Moore and take every chance that I can to see his work, I like that he preferred his works to be in display in natural environments, and where the public can easily see them. Many of his works were given to councils for public areas, like the new towns of Harlow and Letchworth, and his former home at Perry Green is close to where I grew up so I love to visit and see the sculptures in the gardens that inspired Moore. I’ve set myself the challenge of seeing all of the Henry Moore sculptures in public that I can around the world, helped by the handy map on the Henry Moore Foundation website; http://www.henry-moore.org/works-in-public/world. So when I was in Dublin this weekend for the NI & ROI Museum Professional Network event I took the chance to see two more of the sculptures. I was particularly excited about the Yeats Memorial sculpture in St Stephen’s Green park, as I knew there were other bronzes there by Edward Delaney, a tribute to Wolfe Tone and the famine, and it’s lovely to be able to contrast the different patinas and forms of the sculptures.
I got up early on Sunday morning as I wanted to see the first Moore sculpture in Trinity College in peace, and as anyone who’s visited Dublin will know Trinity is always really busy with tourists and students. Here’s my photo of ‘Reclining Connected Forms’ created in 1969 on the lawn at Trinity;
Then I visited St Stephen’s Green park and after being chased by some very enthusiastic ducks wondering why I hadn’t brought their breakfast I found the Yeats Memorial Garden. It was tucked away behind the central circle of the park, in a lovely quiet paved area.
The famine memorial, in contrast is by one of the park entrances. It was created by Edward Delaney, who was also a supporter of sculptures being in the outdoors in a natural setting. The human forms in the sculpture are more angular and defined than Moore’s sculptures, I really liked them and am hoping to see more of Delaney’s works across Ireland. It’s lovely to see that the sculptures are on display in public places so that everyone can appreciate them, and reflect on Irish history and heritage.